Claims Against Background Report Sellers

When going for employment, an apartment to rent, or a condo association to move into, it is quite popular for background reports to be run on the applicant. However, many times, those background reports come in with errors – causing a potential employer to believe the applicant has committed crimes when he or she has no record at all. The Fair Credit Reporting Act governs these reporting agencies. Here are the issues that arise with background reporting agencies:

> Mixed information appearing on your file.

The most common problem we come across is when a person subjected to a background search finds that there is information reported about them that is untrue. Often times, people with common names can find that their information is mixed with another. That may be because the background reporting company may not be using all reasonable procedures to assure maximum accuracy in reporting. Perhaps they are only matching up a first name, last name and date of birth. Regardless, if a reporting agency is giving false information, they may be liable to you for the loss of employment opportunity.

> Failing to warn that public information is being provided that may be harmful.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that when a reporting agency is about to send information to a potential employer that contains a public record (such as a criminal record or judgment), and that information may have a negative effect on the applicant, the reporting agency must notify the applicant of the fact that this information is being reported and to whom it is being reported. Or, if they don’t wish to send out this notice to the applicant, then the reporting agency must maintain strict procedures to insure that the public record is complete and up to date.

> Investigate into false/inaccurate information.

Just like the credit bureaus, Trans Union, Equifax and Experian, are under an obligation to conduct a reasonable investigation when a consumer disputes he inaccuracy of the credit report, so too must a background reporting bureau. If incorrect information appears on a background report, and the consumer/applicant notifies the reporting bureau of this inaccuracy, the reporting bureau must conduct an investigation, free of charge, into the reporting. The agency must then report back the results, and if the information is removed, offer to send this new report to any person or company that received your incorrect report in the recent past.